SAN FRANCISCO — Through a champagne-fogged lens, Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins found themselves going viral in the Warriors’ locker room after winning their first championship. The two were completely in the present, with an eye on the future as they joked about “getting the bag” with future contracts.
Warriors training camp opened Saturday, and the wait continues. They find themselves on different timelines when it comes to negotiations, and the two are focused on one thing as they begin their road to repeating as champions.
That’s basketball. All the other stuff can be handled by those they hired to make life easier for them and to always let the game be the main objective. It didn’t take long, the second question to each, for their contract situations to be brought up Sunday at Warriors Media Day at Chase Center, and their answers nearly echoed each other.
“Obviously that’s something that’s out there, but I’m going to let my reps handle that,” Poole said. “I have confidence that we’ll work something out. I’m just here to play basketball and excited to be back with the team.”
The clock is ticking. The Warriors have until Oct. 17 to reach a rookie contract extension with Poole, or else the 23-year-old guard will enter next summer as a restricted free agent. Both the Warriors and Poole’s representatives have to balance the risk and rewards of either signing a deal in the next three weeks or playing out a season without being inked long-term, and those conversations are about to ramp up.
On Tuesday, the Warriors will take a flight for a two-game trip to Japan. Upon their return, general manager Bob Myers has already said he and others in the front office will meet with Poole’s agents to get a clearer picture of their hopes and if the two sides can meet in the middle.
Regarding Poole’s mindset of it all, he says he’s in the same space he’s always been. The only difference is gearing up to defend the title.
“We just won a championship,” he said. “You know, being able to just experience that in Year 3 and be a really big part to that, really big key, it’s a really exciting feeling, and I’m really excited to see if we can get back to that and embrace that and experience that one more time.
“So, if anything, that’s kind of what we’re looking forward to, at least me personally.”
Poole, as of now, is set to make just over $3.9 million this upcoming season. Wiggins will be paid over $33.6 million, finishing a five-year, $147.7 million contract he signed as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has found a home with the Warriors, but will this be his final season in San Francisco?
The All-Star wing will be an unrestricted free agent on the opening market next season, although Myers and Co. certainly have expressed their hopes of keeping him a Warrior.
“It doesn’t really weigh a lot,” Wiggins said of contract talks floating around. “You know, it’s just I play basketball and I just let my agents worry about all that.
“My plan is just to hope and whatever happens, happens.”
Is his goal to get a deal done before the new season begins? The quiet and mild-mannered Wiggins gave an expected answer.
“I know my agents and the team probably have a plan or something,” Wiggins said. “Right now I’m just focused on the season and what’s coming ahead.”
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Wiggins has signed a long-term, lucrative contract before. As has Draymond Green, who is eligible to sign another multi-year deal and has a player option for the 2023-24 season on his current contract.
“I think the way a contract situation would weigh on me is totally different than the way it would weigh on a Jordan Poole who has never signed a big contract,” Green said.
“So I think all of that matters as well. When you’re in different positions of your career and you know you have security or you don’t, I think all of those different things play a part into how one may react to being in a contract year.
“And so to each his own. Some people are motivated by contract years, and some people are nervous and struggle during contract years.”
From the outside, Poole and Wiggins maintained their only focus and motivation is on the court and being sized for another ring. The bag will come one way or another — from the Warriors or elsewhere.
When that happens is a different matter.
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